Open source really embodies three changes from typical hierarchical human social systems. Gift culture, the right to fork, and perpetually increasing levels of complexity. But these pieces are not all new, what changed to make open source happen? What problem is it actually solving?
Gift culture is not new. It is as old as currency. Currency predated coinage as barter and skills and tasks. So why did open source happen if not for gift culture? What did change? GPL. A new kind of copyright license establishing the right to fork. That’s how Linux, the trial of a hard right to fork based in law, succeeded.
The right to fork is not new. Clearly established by the Christian reformation, and enabled by Gutenberg, the right to fork, until the 1980s was only established against ultimate authorities by war. Civil rights in the freest countries acknowledged it and derived their rights from it, but did not explicitly establish as a basic rule of engagement and existence. In politics threats of an ultimate fork were often sufficient to deter one.
What is new? Complexity at modern levels is completely new. Where is the complexity? Not in tasks or problems to solve. They are still simple to explain. In communication. In language. What does language indicate? Respect for stature and respect for others time. Not always based in the currencies of accomplishment and skill, but as a product of many parallel societies. A focus on the importance of social structure undermines ideas, there for innovation, and ultimately investment. The social structure becomes impassible and no problems or tasks are solved.
Repairing social structure becomes a second level trap. Meetings are held. Seminars attended. No, a fork is needed. The problem needs to be solved in order to be assigned sufficient language to solve it. The language to solve the problems have no parallel and therefore no linguistic identifiers for needed concepts. The industry tries to solve this by pumping out new names and acronyms, but they are often the property of someone and useless for general progress. This is a distraction. Undeveloped ideas are slowed by the work needed to name them. In the computerized, Internet connected world, the source code is language of progress.
The complexity horizon is reached when the task is so complex that less efficient top down problem solving can no longer function. No amount of time spent can solve the problem from the top. ‘Leader’ understanding doesn’t scale language fast enough. The client can solve the problem better if administration doesn’t block him. No right to fork means the client no longer invests. Trust (predictability of future trends) is lost because their personal experience is impassible. Future investment is diminished.
The perception that the ability to understand a problem and articulate it are always equal is a lie. Therefore the complexity horizon occurs when comprehension of tasks outrun articulation of it. False cooperation becomes apparent (bogus reciprocity) and destroys trust. How can understanding outrun articulation? The subconscious must participate in solving the toughest problems. That is imagination. Rationalization of conceptualization is being outstripped. The metamind is doing the work but the rational mind and the mouth can’t keep up. If a fork can be had, the solution can employ more minds at the task of articulation. If it can’t the relationship between solver and the client grinds on failing to economize and destroying the trust needed for investment from both.
This would have been impossible to decipher without first exploring Civgene’s explanation of the metamind and it’s subconscious roles. Based in fundamental behavioral contrasts between humanity and the animal kingdom, and the implications for economics. Please explore those ideas at your leisure.
To help grasp this here are some practical applications of open source and roughly when their complexity horizons were reached. Note that the open source alternatives begin to gain momentum at the complexity horizon but are not accepted as inevitable until some time later.
The original, complete, experiment. Operating systems are a software layer between varying hardware and the programs people are really trying to run. Commercial operating systems were plagued with bugs and suffered from declining stability. The cause was the non linear growth in variety of hardware a computer could be built with. Communicating in code eliminated grafted societies and their cumbersome verbal language.
Currency looses it’s value to a client as quality of transactions become less visible. The increasing non linear complexity of derivatives makes understanding any market impossible, ultimately damaging trade. By solving they Byzantine generals problem the complexity of language is eliminated. A small collaboration of solvers can write code to track and transfer currency for clients at a global scale in a transparent way.
Internet applications are a way to handle reliability and scalability problems. The non linear expansion of global cyberwarfare, and the non linear expansion of the internet of things (ultimately internet connected computers in all equipment) requires management of operating system functions at the network level or a systemic scale. This seems to be the first multi-factor complexity horizon. Devops holds another distinction as well. It is a new system. Not drawing on errors from past attempts to breach the horizon.
3d printers: Soon, perhaps some breaches now.
An epic confluence of complicating factors defy description and add complexity for manufacturing in on demand customization, trade, natural resources, security, and in the race to the atomic scale. 3d printers are likely the first multi-factor complexity horizon with more than two vectors of complexity. We have likely passed some of the factors already.